By JO PARFITT
The best businesses evolve out of a gap in the market. If you’re lucky, that gap is also a defined niche like Chris Anderson explains in The Long Tail. Could expat books be an under-served sweet spot?
I think there’s a need for them, and great authors out there. But bookstores and libraries don’t recognize expat lit as a genre nor do they categorize expat how-tos, self-help and humor. (See expat+HAREM on the need to categorize hybrid writing.)
Most publishers produce books that fit existing, classified, categories. At the Book Industry Study Group you will find travel, but you won’t find expatriate among the categories. Even though today 80% of readers buy their books online, Amazon still has no expatriate category.
Expat life remains unrecognized. Unlabelled. Shelfless. Unsupported by the establishment, I pushed my expat publisher business idea aside for fifteen years.
No longer. I’m listening to my heart now and plan to publish six quirky, useful books a year for readers who live abroad, have lived abroad or who are thinking of doing so.
I realize my niche fits with my expertise and with my network. As a journalist and magazine editor I have connections with both traditional and expat media. I have what it takes to make that leap of faith and don’t need to wait for the book industry, book sellers, or other publishers to join me.
We’ll be promoting our books online directly to expatriate publications, websites, groups and bookshops, avoiding traditional routes where we “don’t exist”. I’ve learned from Aaron Shepard, author of Aiming At Amazon, to include the right keywords in a book’s title, subtitle and in the metadata, so that it gets found by online shoppers. Expat-Abroad-Overseas-International-Global.
Have you learned niche business lessons from your out-of-the-ordinary life?
Post illustration by Kirsten Lauer Karahan